By Janis Blackwell
Near the small, north central Texas town of Forestburg, lives 12-year-old Blake Weston Keith and his horse Hooter. Hooter is the subject of my article this month, and although he could qualify as a superstar, he is most definitely an everyday hero, especially to his boy, Blake.
Hooter was originally owned and trained by Walt Johnson, the 2015 Montana Cowboy’s Association Heritage Award Winner, a man who has been breaking and training quality horses since his childhood. At the time Mr. Johnson owned him, the horse was called Pretty Boy.
From about age six to 14, Hooter (aka Pretty boy) was owned by another Montana cowboy, Grant Racki, who roped on him. Grant said until the horse was 14, almost every time he roped on him, he bucked, but only with adults. His nieces used him for running barrels during those same years, and he never bucked with the kids.
His name changed after Grant had bought him and brought him to his place. When he turned “Pretty Boy” into a lot next to the barn, a big barn owl started hooting. That hooting scared Pretty Boy so much he jumped the fence and took off down the road, and that day his name changed to Hooter.
At age 14, another Montana team roper, Egan Boschee, bought Hooter and hauled him all over the West and Midwest to big ropings including the “Richest One Day Amateur Roping” held in Reno, Nevada, and the 2013 World Series of Team Roping Finale in Las Vegas.
These are the credentials that qualify Hooter to be classified as a “Superstar,” but the best story about Hooter, and I personally think the best years of Hooter’s life, started about a year and a half ago when Hooter became the team roping horse of young Blake Keith.
To read more pick up a copy of the October 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.